RALEIGH, NC - As the push into the postseason continues, Montreat College senior Erik Rodriguez (SR/Euless, Texas) is still heating up the track and making strides. On Friday, the senior competed at the NC State Last Chance Qualifier. In a field of some top talent that included two-time World Championships participant Robby Andrews, Rodriguez placed tenth in the 800m with a new personal best time of 1:55.28.
Rodriguez will get one more opportunity to lower his time when he competes at the North Carolina A&T Aggie Invitational on Sunday, May 15th.
CHATSWORTH, GA - Three members of the Montreat College track & field team competed in two different competitions over the weekend. On Saturday morning, Steven Anhold (SO/Churchville, VA) and Rylan Hincher (FR/North Wilkesboro, NC) competed in the Tear Drop Half Marathon in Chatsworth, GA. The tandem had a terrific debut at the distance as Anhold took the win with a school record time of 1:11:02. Hincher ended up as the second overall runner out of 304 competitors in a time of 1:13:03. Both runners hit the "A" standard and qualified to run the marathon at the 2016 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships, which take place May 26-28 in Gulf Shores, AL.
On Saturday afternoon, Erik Rodriguez (SR/Euless, Texas) competed in the 800m at the Mountaineer Open, hosted by Appalachian State. The senior took home a 6th place finish in the race with a time of 1:56.46.
"I was really pleased with how Steven and Rylan ran today," said head coach Jason Lewkowicz. "They have been working extremely hard to prepare for this race and their dedication paid off as they earned the right to participate in the national championship meet. And I also thought Erik did well as he worked himself from a mid-season injury that set his training back. He is coming along and has a few more opportunities coming up to lower his time."
As Anhold and Hincher prepare for the national meet, Rodriguez will travel to Raleigh, NC on Friday, May 6th to compete in the NC State Last Chance Qualifier.
SEVIERVILLE, TN - The Montreat College track and field teams spent the weekend competing at the 2016 Appalachian Athletic Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which were held at Sevier County High School. A young Cavaliers squad had a tremendous weekend that saw a number of strong performances.
On Friday, the meet was preceded by a severe thunderstorm that dropped over a inch of hail on the SCHS track in less than five minutes. However, the skies cleared and the meet crew got the track cleared in time for the running events to start. The men's 4x800m team of Joshua Kilgo (SR/Waxhaw, NC), Eli Hall (FR/Columbus, NC), Daniel Angarita (FR/Miller's Creek, NC), and Erik Rodriguez (SR/Euless, Texas) earned All-Conference honors with their third place finish in a time of 8:16.22. The women's team of Samantha Gaskill (JR/Wilmington, NC), Abigail Chevalier (SO/Swanton, VT), Alona Kosenko (SO/Charlotte, NC), and MiKayla Poulter (SO/Hickory, NC) followed with a seventh place finish in a school record time of 11;09.46. The men's 1500m race proved to be tactical early and Daniel Lancaster (SO/Wilmington, NC) was able to find a spot in the lead pack down the home stretch and earn a sport on the All-AAC team with his third place finish (4:07.07). In the women's 1500m, Alona Kosenko (5:46.36) and MiKayla Poulter (5:50.34) both ran season best times. In the men's 400m, Erik Rodriguez scored valuable points for the team by taking 4th place in a time of 51.22. The first day of competition concluded with the 10,000m where Steven Anhold (SO/Churchville, VA) placed third in a time of 34:49.68 to earn All-AAC accolades. Teammate Rylan Hincher (FR/North Wilkesboro, NC) was close behind, finishing fourth in 34:56.18.
Day two action kicked off in the field events where Caleb Mallory (SO/Miami, FL) took home a 5th place finish in th high jump with a mark of 1.75m. Dawuud Shabazz-Williams (SO/ Bristow, VA) established a new school record in the shot put, placing 4th with a best throw of 12.43m. On the track, the 3,000m Steeplechase provided one of the most exciting finishes of the competition. Running the event for only the second time, Holden Dixon (FR/Chocowinity, NC) surged to the lead with a little less than a mile to go and held off a furious surge from Reinhardt's Nick Zvirbulis to claim the victory in a school record time of 10:12.38, just 0.02 ahead of second place. Steven Anhold came back from the short turnaround in the 10,000m to take 4th place with a personal best time of 10:25.69 while Brandon Welborn (SO/Traphill, NC) shaved nearly 40 seconds off his previous best mark to take 7th place in 10:32.73. All three runners eclipsed the previous school record in the event. In the men's 800m, Erik Rodriguez earned All-AAC honors by finishing third with a time of 1:57.18. Daniel Lancaster took sixth (1:59.70) while Daniel Angarita had a huge personal best in the event, placing seventh in 2:00.02. The running events wrapped up with the 4x400m where the team of Joshua Kilgo, Elijah Mitchell (FR/Milledgeville, GA), Daniel Angarita, and Erik Rodriguez earned All-AAC honors with a second-place finish. Their time of 3:24.68 shattered the previous school record by nearly five seconds.
As the running events concluded, the teams turned their attention to the field events. In the men's javelin, Dawuud Shabazz-Williams set a new school record with a best toss of 35.09m to finish in 7th place. Teammate Dillon Hensley (FR/Black Mountain, NC) was right behind, taking 8th place with a mark of 34.16m. In the discus, the Cavaliers earned their second championship of the meet as Shabazz-Williams won the event with a top throw of 35.09m. Hensley also picked up points for Montreat, placing 8th with a best mark of 29.87m
Overall the men's team would finish in 5th place with 96 points while the women finished in 10th place with 2 points. The team earned a total of 13 All-Conference honors while taking home two individual titles. The Cavaliers also re-wrote the school record books as they set new standards in five events.
"I am so proud of this team for how they competed this weekend," said head coach Jason Lewkowicz. "From the time we got to the stadium on Friday they were dialed in and weathered the early ups and downs to have a solid meet. The conference meet is often a test of toughness, determination, and willpower as athletes are asked to take on a heavy workload to help the team suceed. Our group rose to that challenge and accomplished some tremendous things. We set out to honor Christ with our effort and attitude all weekend and I couldn't be more pleased with how this group handled themselves. We are a very young team but our seniors really stepped up and led well. On top of that, we had some underclassmen really rise up and establish themselves. We will build off of this as we continue to grow as a program."
While the AAC championships will serve as the final competition for most of the team, several athletes will continue to compete in hopes of qualifying for the NAIA National Championships in May. Steven Anhold and Rylan Hincher will look to hit a qualifiying time for the marathon when they compete in the Tear Drop Half Marathon on Saturday, April 30th in Chatsworth, GA. That same day, Erik Rodriguez will compete in the 800m at the Appalachian State Open.